Why habits are hard to change, but not impossible

Recently I broke a bad habit. Admittedly, it was hard. 

I got into the habit of settling down for the night with a glass or two of wine a few nights a week.

Not so bad, right?

Except it disrupted my sleep terribly and I felt groggy when I woke up the next day.

Before I broke that bad habit, I quit the habit of daily caffeine. I am a coffee lover, but also very caffeine sensitive. 

Between the wine and coffee, my sleep was a wreck.

Before I quit coffee, I quit sugar. Before that I quit using my phone 1 hour before bed. A few years ago I quit television.

You can see the pattern here. One slow, baby step at a time to reform habits that were no longer serving me.

To be frank … none of this was easy. But doable.

The Habit Loop In Action 

If you think about the habit loop, you simply change the behavior between the cue and the reward.

To take wine drinking as the example:

  • Cue > Finishing up tasks for the day and settling in to a book. 
  • Old behavior >...
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What Is Habit Building?

 

Yesterday’s blog post kicked off our habit-building series. If you missed it, you can snag a peek here.

I like to think of habit building as placeholders you keep throughout your day. The easiest way to build new habits and kick old habits that no longer serve you to the curb …

Is to take a look at all the placeholders you have in your day and find out which habits you want to replace.

According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power Of Habit building, the more and more automated our behavior becomes, the less our brain has to work. He talks about what is called the habit loop:

 

  • Cue (trigger to automatically start behavior)
  • Routine (the actual behavior)
  • Reward (what you earn from the behavior)

Until recently, much of our talk about habit was based on routine. Say you wanted to stop smoking, so the suggestion was to not smoke. Right … easy as pie.

Newer researcher suggests that the cue and reward are the key components to modifying and...

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